Bulgaria opposition attacks government over graft, reform

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 19, 2012 11:29 AM

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria's opposition Socialists filed a motion of no-confidence in the center-right government on Thursday for failing to crack down on rampant organized crime and corruption and failing to reform the judiciary.

The motion is also backed by the ethnic Turkish MRF party, but the minority cabinet has the support of enough independent lawmakers to defeat a no-confidence vote, having defeated three previous motions since taking office in July 2009.

A similar motion in April was canceled when the nationalist Attack party withdrew its support. A vote on the new motion is expected next week.

The European Union said this week that Bulgaria, the poorest member of the bloc, was not doing enough to combat deep-seated problems with organized crime and graft and urged it to step up the reform of its often slow and inefficient judiciary.

Brussels said the Balkan country had adopted the right legislation and now needed to implement the necessary reforms to show that it could impose strict rule of law.

"The new ruthless criticism in the last EU report only confirms the systematic flaws of the government," the Socialist party said in a statement.

Opinion polls show Prime Minister Boiko Borisov's GERB remains the most popular political party, though the imposition of austerity measures has eroded his support.

Borisov came to power saying he was determined to sever links between corrupt senior officials and dubious businesses, but the EU executive said in its latest report that government policy still lacked direction and this was holding back progress.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova, editing by Tim Pearce)